top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatt Dod

Who Invented The Superplex?

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

The video for this article is here on youtube:

The Super Bowl, Super Man and Super Mario. Sometimes adding the word super in front of ordinary things can take them from the mundane to the exceptional. The same cannot be said for the Super-Suplex.

The gravity-defying wrestling move, its name shortened to the Superplex, is a real anomaly between the ropes.

Undoubtedly more dangerous and damaging to perform than it’s standard suplex counterpart, the superplex adds 5-6 feet of additional downward velocity to any move, but has never dominated as a successful finisher or gained notoriety for its brutality.

The term Superplex refers to any move which is undertaken by an attacker who performs a suplex or throw with their opponent starting in a sitting or standing position above the third turnbuckle in the corner of the ring.

Pro Wrestling Wiki states: "The most common suplex used for this top rope move is the standard vertical suplex variation (known as the suicide-plex), in which the attackers apply a front face lock to the opponent, draping the opponent's near arm over their respective shoulders, at this point the wrestler falls backwards and flips the opponent over them so they both land on their backs."

The Dynamite Kid, a British born wrestler and renowned grappling innovator, is most often credited with the invention of the Superplex. Thomas Billington set the world alight during runs in All Japan Pro and New Japan in the latter part of the 80s, where he would shock audiences with his new take on the classic suplex manoeuvre.

As well as changing the nature of multi-man matches in WWF with his cousin Davey Boy Smith as the British Bulldogs. The Dynamite Kid is claimed by Bret Hart to have been one of the most influential wrestlers of all time.

Bret said, about Dynamite kid; “There are people in life that have a ripple effect both professionally and personally. Tom was one of those people. I benefited from his greatness and through our matches in Stampede, WWE, and everywhere in-between, I became a better wrestler because of him. Dynamite truly was the best wrestler ever, pound-for-pound.”

That’s incredibly high praise coming from such an icon as Bret Hart. But still, even then. Dynamite Kid was never considered the “Top Guy”, the Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan or The Rock. The Superplex was awe-inspiring for crowds that got to see Dynamite at work. And this is probably when the move was at its peak in terms of effectiveness and match-winning potential.

Dynamite was even credited with the first-ever 5-star match by Dave Meltzer in 1983 against Tiger Mask Satoru Sayama at New Japan’s Sumo Hall show. Something which is still held in wide regard to this day. And yet, the superplex still could not take it to the top.

Barry Windham, another icon of wrestling’s past also used the superplex. And even though he did win the hilariously important-sounding “World's Strongest Tag Determination League Exciting Award in All Japan in 1983 and a host of other titles across his esteemed career in WWF, NWA and WCW as well as his brief time as member of the Four Horsemen and his later induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.

But still, Barry Windham, with his amazing mullet and even better pun surname, couldn’t make the superplex a house-hold name in the world of pro-wrestling.

Cowboy Bob Orton, the son of legendary ‘Big O’ Bob Orton Senior, and father of legend killing top tier star, Randy Orton, used the superplex throughout his career.

NWA was where the Cowboy persona was born, onto WWF and then Japan where he helped to spread the message of the damage of the superplex.

However, unlike his son, Cowboy Bob Orton never made it all the way to the top of the mountain, never winning a world title on the biggest stage of WWE, New Japan or NWA in an otherwise glittering career, ending with The Cowboy being featured in multiple wrestling hall of fames.

Randy Orton, Cowboy Bob Orton’s son, now regularly uses his version of the Superplex, passed down through his three generations of wrestling lineage, like everything Randy Orton does, his Superplex has a smoothness and shows Orton’s technical prowess.

Nobody could seemingly take this move to the next level. Up steps Scott Irwin. A husky bulk of a man, his heaving muscles bulging out of his revealing leotard. His identity obscured behind the traditional Mexican Lucha mask, slightly too tight for his head.

Three stars across his brow, this is no longer Scott Irwin, clearly learning from the success of the bowl and the man, Irwin became Super Destroyer.

Even with that many Supers in Super Destroyer’s version of the Super-Suplex, the move never became iconic like a figure four or a chokeslam today.


In Japan, Mexico and the UK more aggressive and often more serious wrestling has led to some of the more damaging moves being invented there. Taking the fight to the outside, is commonplace in mainstream pro-wrestling today, but that wasn’t always the case.

For many years the fighting was confined to the ring with combatants almost never leaving the squared circle during a match. This made the transition to competing outside the ring even more exciting and fresh.

Imagine being at a Lucha match in Mexico City, the humid atmosphere and jubilation of seeing the bad guy finally get his comeuppance at the hands of your wrestling hero. Being thrown from the ring in a display of raw power and aggression.

Or at a match in Blackpool, in the north of England and two men has battled through tireless submission holds, both firmly stuck to the mat, when one day sometime decided, “Oh poppycock! Sod this for a bag of peanuts!” and throws their opponent onto the top rope and then out onto the floor. “Blimey!”

Around the world of hardcore wrestling. The superplex can’t even get a victory when slamming and opponent from ridiculous heights, from the top of a ladder, off the top of a cage, through a table or even just onto this bulk of besties just waiting to get smooshed.

In a world where a simple fireman’s carry or elbow drop to the stomach could defeat almost every wrestler to ever lace their boots, wrestling logic sometimes rules out. Sometimes, between the ropes, you must accept that not everything that happens makes perfect sense.

Sometimes moves that would do little or no damage in real life are career-ending brutalisers used to win belts at the biggest shows in the business.

Why is nobody dominating in New Japan or holding all the belts in All Elite Wrestling by simply taking their opponents to the top rope, flipping them over their head and slamming them swiftly to the mat?

A move that would hurt drastically more than Great Khali squeezing your head for a bit.


Wrestling logic, I guess?

The video for this article is here on youtube:


bottom of page